University of Lagos (UNILAG) Vice Chancellor, Prof. Folasade Ogunsola, last Wednesday led academics in requesting for full autonomy to be given to universities to make choices.
This is against the backdrop of the controversy over the Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards between the National Universities Commission (NUC) and Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
She urged NUC and ASUU to arrive at a positive outcome on the controversy hovering around Core Curriculum Minimum Academic Standards (CCMAS) and Benchmark Minimum Academic Standard (BMAS).
Her words: “I think what we want is the autonomy. We want the autonomy to choose exactly what we do and we will get there. We have a lot of new universities and maybe some of our older universities need less support than others.
“I think NUC is on the right part, but I understand where ASUU is coming from. We really want full autonomy. We would get there. I think we are on the right part. I think if we sit down together, some of these things would be resolved.
I also think there has been some misunderstanding.
“The initial BMAS was very restrictive. It was essentially a curriculum that was handed over. The CCMAS has given a little more lead way for universities to own their own curriculum.
“Both the BMAS and the CCMAS are still needful. From what NUC had said, they would constantly reduce their involvement in the BMAS.
“There’s BMAS in everywhere in the world. Just that ours was a little quite restrictive. What essentially they have been doing is reducing the restrictions, but we can still do better.
Also, an Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, UNILAG, Dr Tony Okeregbe, described the university as a learning field, not practical field. He added that the practical aspect of the curriculum does not sit well with higher institutions.
“NUC should have sensitised universities before carrying that project. Thereafter, it should have called some respected stakeholders in tertiary education to discuss the modalities before carrying out the new development. On their own part, they might think they might have done it.
“The template they brought to different universities somehow undermines the very meaning and intention of university education.
Their intention of bringing this is to make university as practical as possible. But they forget the university education is not as practical nor skill and expertise inclined.
“While we subscribe to their view that young people need skills, the kind of the skill they are talking about is different from what the university should provide. If you are talking about practical skills, you can do that anywhere, not in the university,” he noted.
To a professor of Philosophy, Prof. Douglas Anele, CCMAS is incomplete and inferior to the older BMAS. He also described it as an imposition of institution’s Senate body.
His words: “As a former Head of Department, we did a curriculum review in my department.
The curriculum we are running is superior to the one NUC is bringing.
Education: UNICEF Raises Fresh Concern Over Learning Crisis In Nigeria
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has raised a fresh concern over the learning crisis Nigeria is currently grappling with, urging stakeholders, particularly the government at all levels to, as a matter of priority, take stronger actions and commitments towards addressing the challenge.
The global agency noted that the crisis, particularly at the basic education level is stalling meaningful development in the country and globally by extension.
The Education Specialist, UNICEF Nigeria, Yetunde Oluwatosin, raised the concern at a two-day media dialogue organised by UNICEF Nigeria in collaboration with the National Orientation Agency, Lagos State, and the Edo State Universal Basic Education Board, recently.
The workshop with newsmen from print, broadcast and online media from the South-West region as participants, has “Turning the Tide on Nigeria’s Learning Crisis” as its theme.
Making a presentation and quoting from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), Oluwatosin disclosed that 73 per cent of Nigeria’s children, aged 10 years below, with the majority in the North and from the poorest families and in rural communities, were struggling to read or comprehend simple text, while an alarming nine out of every 10 children (90%) in sub-Saharan Africa generally were also confronting with learning difficulty.
She also noted that while only one out of 14 children between ages seven and 14 years could demonstrate fundamental skills, only 25 per cent have numeracy skills capable of solving simple mathematical problems.
Oluwatosin equally pointed out that although up to 73 per cent of Nigeria’s youths were literate, only seven per cent possessed the necessary ICT skills required for the digital economy while just eight per cent of children from the poorest families attend school compared to 78 per cent of their peers from the richest homes.
She said all these conditions, among others, are widening the inequality gaps between the children from the poorest homes and those from the richest families and also between those living in urban and rural communities.
She therefore recommended that the trend would need to be reversed otherwise it would be difficult to lift many children and young adults in the country out of extreme poverty and also out of criminal activities.
She, however, attributed the crises to a number of factors including limited infrastructure, inadequate funding, gender parity, shortage of qualified teachers, poor delivery system, and insufficient learning data and materials, among others.
She emphasised UNICEF’s efforts in filling the gap in a way it can including provision of learning materials for over 1.8 million children between 2018 and 2022 and further plans to reach another 4.8 million children primarily in the North, by 2027.
NUT Reacts To Threat By RSG On Penalisation Of Public Schools Principals, Head Teachers
Threat by the Commissioner, Rivers State Ministry of Education, Prof Chinedu Mmom to sack Head Teachers and Principals who contravene government policies on free education has generated more reactions.
Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT) in Rivers State, Mr Collins Echikpu has said the principals in public schools are facing challenges that are drastically affecting the smooth running of the school administration due to lack of payment of impress by the ministry.
Echikpu clarified that some of the levies collected from parents through their wards in these public schools were used in the day to day running of the school activities.
The NUT chairman called on the state government to implement the promotion of teachers, so as to improve their efficiency and effective service delivery.
“We expect the state government to do the needful by implementing the promotion of teachers so as to encourage them to efficiently and effectively discharge their duties as expected”, Collins said.
Meanwhile, some Head Teachers in the public schools in Rivers State are calling for proper management of teachers in the state.
Some of the Head Teachers who spoke during a meeting with the Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, said lack of proper management of teachers in the public schools is responsible for the challenges facing the education sector in the state.
RSG Set To Penalise Public Schools Extorting Students
Rivers State Ministry of Education has warned principals in public schools against extortion of fees from parents whose wards are in the public schools in the state.
Commissioner for Education in Rivers State, Professor Chinedu Mmom issued the warning during a meeting with Principals of public schools held in Port Harcourt, last Wednesday.
Mmom regretted that despite efforts by the current administration to provide education at zero cost for students in the state, some principals in the public schools have devised ways to extort money from parents.
“Despite efforts by the current administration, some of the public schools are still bent on frustrating efforts put in by this administration to achieve zero extortion and free education in the state,” he said.
He cautioned school principals against sabotaging the efforts of government as anyone caught would face the full wrath of the law.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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